Improve Your Startup’s SEO With These Fundamentals

by: Nick Papagiannis

Starting a business can be pretty intense.  Although many startups depend heavily on the web, search engine optimization is often an afterthought. As a consequence, website owners may launch their new site and see very little traffic from searches. Showing up in search results is a free, passive way to connect with potential customers, so it’s important to consider these fundamentals when establishing your online presence.

Read Google’s Webmaster SEO Starter Guide and Install Webmaster Tools

To make sure your site is maximizing your search traffic, make sure to follow Google’s published SEO guidelines (aka their SEO Starter Guide). Pay particular attention to your HTML tags, URL structure, load time, and the amount of crawlable text copy on page. Since having a mobile-enabled website is becoming critical for mobile search rankings and how potential customers use their mobile devices, make sure to follow Google’s recommendation and have a responsive architecture.

Additionally, make sure to install Google Webmaster Tools on your site. It’s easy to implement and it allows you to see valuable search engine crawling data (from errors to link data to keyword analytics).

Build Content Around Non-Brand, Category-Relevant Topics

For a site to rank for a search phrase, you almost always need content that speaks to that phrase. So, if you want to rank for “getting financial advice” searches, your site should have a piece of content or a webpage that speaks to that phrase. Without it, it can be difficult to get a ranking. For most websites, various types of content—like blog posts, articles, videos, press releases, and infographics—can offer the best opportunity to expand the list of search phrases your site ranks for. Additionally, the more unbranded content you have about a particular subject, the more links you’re likely to accrue for that subject. At the end of the day, this helps turn your website into an authority long-term and can preserve your site’s visibility. Make sure you have a content center (i.e. a blog) on your website. Leverage Google’s Keyword Tool to identify the searches happening in your category that can help inform your unbranded content choices.

Leverage Social and Communication Assets to Build Links to Your Site

Pull a list together of existing and/or potential communication assets available to you. Typically, this includes social media profiles, offsite blogs, email newsletters, news releases, and even content on partner sites. Though they may not always pass technical link value (called PageRank), these assets can bring awareness to your site and provoke links or social shares from readers. Leverage these assets for additional links to your site by promoting or linking to new content on your website.

Have Local Pages

If your start up is located in a specific market, consider building webpages that speak to relevant, local topics relevant to your industry (e.g. events, news).  By associating your site with that kind of website content, you’ll increase the chances of your website ranking for localized searches that may be relevant to your business (e.g., Buying Jewelry in Chicago).

Consider Building and Syndicating Video Content For High-Demand Content

Despite its costs, high-quality video content can be a great asset that provides a positive ROI long-term.  Since YouTube videos have a direct feed into Google results, and YouTube itself is considered the second most popular search engine, make sure to have a YouTube channel. Work with a production company or agency to create high-quality videos around topics that have a long shelf life and aren’t dated. Prioritize video topics based on search volumes in Google’s Keyword Tool and YouTube’s Keyword Tag tool. Help videos or instructional videos are a great resource and offer great long-term return.  Additionally, YouTube videos can be easily embedded into other sites, shared socially, and can even push into paid media channels.

These are some of the focus areas when it comes to search engine optimization. The list is long, and some strategies work better than others. Keeping the tips above in mind will position your site long-term and help you grow your SEO presence and traffic.

About the author Nick Papagiannis @Technori
Nick Papagiannis is Director of Interactive - Search at leading independent marketing and communications firm Cramer-Krasselt, where he provides SEO thought leadership, consultation and program management for many of C-K’s clients. Based in Chicago, Nick has been in the digital marketing industry for 14 years in a variety of roles, specializing in search marketing and owned media optimization for the last 8 years.

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